The Best Exercises For Training the Hamstrings
Tom McCullough MEd.


Figure 6: Relative EMG activity of the muscles of the hamstrings during selected exercises in comparison to standard lying leg curls. data adapted from Boeckh-Behrens & Buskies. 2000

As figured, the laying leg curl seem to be king when compared to body weight exercises such as leg lifts, leg kick backs, and hyperextensions. However, variations of the leg curl seem to work even better. Doing peak contraction by holding your contraction at the top of the concentric portion of the lift the muscle seem to generate more energy. Doing partial reps seem to activate even more muscle fibers (haven’t I been saying this for a while).

What was not covered in this study was the comparison of stiff legged deadlifts There are research studies that have shows these are much more effective than lying leg curls. Further still razor curls seem to top all of the hamstring exercises.